New York City Leaders and Reproductive Rights Groups Launch Historic Campaign to Expand Abortion Access

September 27, 2018
Contact: Noah Gardy | 201.218.6310 | [email protected]

NYC Public Advocate Letitia James, NYC Councilmember Helen Rosenthal, NIRH, NYLAN, and NYAAF Announced a New Campaign to for Direct Abortion Funding

NEW YORK, NY – New York City leaders announced an historic campaign today to create an abortion access fund that would make New York the first city in the United States to directly fund abortion care. The campaign, announced by New York City Public Advocate Letitia James, New York City Councilmember Helen Rosenthal, The National Institute for Reproductive Health (NIRH) President Andrea Miller, New York Latina Advocacy Network Field (NYLAN) and Advocacy Manager Elizabeth Estrada, and the New York Abortion Access Fund (NYAAF) Board Member and Volunteer Manager Kaitlyn Marchesano, is a direct response to NIRH’s Local Reproductive Freedom Index which ranked 40 cities on 37 key indicators; New York received 4.5 stars due in large part to the lack of city funding for abortion.

Under current law, the vast majority of states and localities follow guidelines set down by the Hyde Amendment, which bars federal funds from covering abortion services, leaving millions of women are unable to afford safe abortion care. And while in New York, NYAAF provides financial assistance to cover abortion care, many New Yorkers fall through the cracks.

Flying in the face of the Hyde Amendment and the Trump/Pence administration’s efforts to curtail reproductive freedom, these advocates call upon the New York city council to commit direct funds to guarantee all New Yorkers, regardless of an individual’s race, immigration status, or socioeconomic standing, have access to abortion care.

“Today, we must once again stand together to battle back continuous assaults on our right to unbiased medical advice and access to safe, legal abortions. At the same time, we should remember that those rights mean little without the resources to ensure the access that women need and deserve,” said New York City Public Advocate Letitia James. “The Abortion Access Fund will provide those resources to ensure that women’s rights are fully realized, and that a lack of financial resources will never impede a women’s right to make her own medical choices. I applaud the National Institute for Reproductive Health for spearheading this critical issue.”

“In an era where Congress and the Trump administration have turned their backs on women and their reproductive freedom, cities have the opportunity – and responsibility – to be pioneers for reproductive health, rights, and justice,” said Andrea Miller, President of NIRH. “The effort we’ve launched today helps lay the groundwork to ensure that no matter what happens in DC, New York City will remain a beacon of reproductive freedom in our country for all women. As New Yorkers, it is our responsibility to live up to our values and ensure that all individuals – regardless of personal background or circumstance – have access to quality healthcare; and through this campaign, we are committing to make that a reality.”

“When the Trump administration moved to restrict the rights of immigrants and refugees, New York and cities across the country declared that they would be sanctuaries. And now as reproductive health services — especially abortion — are under threat, we must act again,” said Council Member and Chair of the Committee on Women Helen Rosenthal. “We are here today to ensure access to abortion services in New York City for the long-term — regardless of an individual’s race, immigration status, or socioeconomic standing. The City Council is committed to protecting access to reproductive health care for all New Yorkers. I look forward to working with my colleagues in the Council and the de Blasio administration to make this commitment a reality for every resident.”

“As the future of abortion access in the United States remains at unprecedented risk, and people of color and young people bear the burden of restrictions and bans on insurance coverage for abortion, it is more important now than ever before for cities and states to do all they can to protect access,” said Destiny Lopez, Co-Director, All* Above All. “All* Above All stands with our partners in calling on the members of New York City Council to provide abortion coverage for all those who seek care.”

“Reproductive justice is inextricably linked to economic justice. We need to make sure that each of us is able to live, work, and make decisions about our future with dignity and with the resources we need to thrive,” said Elizabeth Estrada, New York Field and Advocacy Manager for the New York Latina Advocacy Network. “Right now, low wages make working families choose between paying for rent or essential reproductive health care. On top of this, federal funding bans on abortion care, such as the Hyde Amendment, make abortion just as inaccessible as if it were illegal for far too many Latinas. NYC needs to be a leader on abortion access now more than ever. We join our partners in calling on the City Council to fund abortion directly through its budget. The impact this funding would have on our communities –who are often uninsured and underserved– would be monumental. The ‘NYC Won’t Hyde’ campaign is a step towards reproductive and economic justice for New York City.”

“The New York Abortion Access Fund’s clients fall through the coverage cracks for many reasons: they make too much to qualify for Medicaid, but not enough to afford the out-of-pocket costs for an abortion; they have private insurance that does not cover abortion or has a high deductible; or they may opt not to use their insurance due to privacy or safety concerns,” said Kaitlyn Marchesano, Board Member and Volunteer Manager, New York Abortion Access Fund. “For many who are living paycheck to paycheck and have expenses to cover like rent and childcare, even $425, the average price of a first-trimester abortion is expensive. Our clients should not have to choose between putting food on the table and getting essential reproductive health care. Abortion is a routine medical procedure that everyone should be able to access if they choose to. We call on the City Council to take this important step to ensure that every New Yorker can get their basic medical needs met.”